Peace and Love

I was in San Francisco in the late 60s, the age of Aquarius, hippies, love children, flowers, peace and love. I went to concerts at Golden Gate Park. I was where the anti-war action was. Sadly, I was part of the military complex, a sailor in the Navy. I didn’t exactly fit in.

There is a lot today that reminds me of those days: a war poorly defined by the national leadership and weakly supported by the people, a great distrust of government, recognition that the “normal” life doesn’t offer lasting satisfaction. In the 60s the “revolutionaries” sought alternatives in drugs, sex and rock and roll. The thought they were trumpeting in a new age. They weren’t.

Those years also birthed the Jesus Movement which helped launch the charismatic movement. That kind of petered out as well. Perhaps there was too much focus on miracles and the gifts of the spirit and not enough consideration of His fruits.

Every generation seeks Peace and Love. They don’t always look in the right places. Isn’t it interesting that’s exactly what Jesus offers. He provides a lasting real peace, not just the absence of war, but the presence of God in daily life. His life was an example of real love, not just warm and fuzzy feelings but a satisfying life of sacrifice.

Isn’t it strange that the world generally considers Christians as unpeaceful and unloving. This isn’t a failure of Jesus. It’s a failure of his followers to be Jesus. We aren’t provided the clear answer so today the world looks to correctness without recognition of absolute right and wrong. It promotes justice without responsibility or sacrifice. It looks for individual freedom in subjugation to worldly authority. The world is looking for love (and peace) in all the wrong places.

We have what the world wants: peace and love. We have to really know that before we can share it. If we accept and experience this truth; the sharing of it will come automatically. The age that hippies were seeking will come, when Jesus is King.

Christmas Issue

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I enjoy every issue of Covenant Spotlight, but the December issue deserves your special attention. Please pick one up.

There is much about Christmas, heartwarming stories, helpful hints, and good Christmas devotional stuff.

There is a terrific set of articles on Islam. If you are a bit unclear about this fastest growing religion, the December issue is a great place to pick up the basics and to get some direction for further study.

Check it out. Well worth your time.

Old Vines

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 1:8

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. Genesis 9:1

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:15

My winter garden experiment continues and the fruit is being to show. Some plants just didn’t make it but some beans, squash and tomatoes are doing great. It’s amazing to see huge fruit filled plants growing from tiny seeds. It’s the purpose of all creation to be fruitful and multiply. Scripture makes it abundantly clear it’s our purpose in a special way. There is a reason that there is no worse feeling than that of being useless and unproductive. It’s no surprise when someone who has worked all their lives dies soon after retiring. Under their understanding of productivity, their purpose has ended. Sadly, they were mistaken.

Our multiplication and fruit production is more complex than making babies and making a living. It means adding bounty to the Kingdom. That means making disciples, more multipliers and fruit producers. Sometimes we become more spiritually productive after our material productivity has peaked. As our “making a living” and “raising a family” wraps up, we have more time, experience and focus on real fruit production. Ideally we have made disciples of our off spring, now we are now able to help them with their productivity.

I love it when our offspring call with questions and problems. These are the times that our few successes and, perhaps more importantly, our many missteps can be of use to someone else. I love this quote:

There’s something sexy about old vines.

It may be the gnarled curves of their trunks, the historic events they’ve witnessed or the sheer quality of their limited fruit, but winemakers have long sought out old vines. Young Winemakers – Old Vine Wines. 

Productivity doesn’t end with age. It becomes more focused, more fruitful, and, if we are blessed, highly prized.

Take a Stand

I had a strange dream last night. I was a player on an African basketball team. The team apparently was going through tough times. One of the players made a speech asserting that we needed to take a stand. Everyone on the team got all pumped up. I think I woke up them. I really don’t know where dreams come from. I’m no basketball player and have never been to Africa. Surely this dream has no meaning or relevance to my life today. Or does it.

The more I consider it, taking a stand is something that needs to happen. It seems so  much is slipping away. Our country is less safe, less God dependent, less loving. We seem to be losing control. Our ability to control our own lives or to decide to put control in the hands of God is under attack. Satan has been stealing our stuff. He’s a smart thief. He’s taking a bit at a time, not grabbing everything all at once. That way we don’t notice the losses.

It clearly is time to take a stand. What stand should we take? We need to take a stand on Jesus. He needs to be our foundation. It’s becoming clearer every day that no other foundation is trustworthy. Wealth and power, political party or movement, our own strength and ability, all are proving to be poor unreliable foundations. Our very lives, everything we’ve become used to, can no longer be counted on. We can rely on the assumption that tomorrow will be like today. In fact, we can be pretty sure that it won’t.

Only Jesus has the constancy and the flexibility to handle the future. He doesn’t change, yet he guides and directs us safely through the changes that seem to be coming faster and faster. Maybe that African basketball team dream comes from a growing knowledge that things are changing. Can’t rely on anything but Jesus. Just because something has been a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s here to stay, unless that thing is Jesus. No matter what the future holds, only Jesus is there, ready to comfort and to guide.